This is my first Ranger's Apprentice fanfic. It'll probably be the only one, but who knows. I finished all 9 books in just under three weeks, while working, job hunting and procrastinating, yay for me. So here it goes, and I know it's a bit of cuteness between Will and Halt, and it is absolutely not intended to be any type of slash, so sorry if you we're looking for that. Halt is my hero, I only wish he were real.

Disclaimer: Purely fan fiction, if I wrote the series it would probably be a lot different, and less addictive.

He'd started playing the Mandola right after he cleaned the last of the dishes. Halt sat inside at the table re reading the same reports. The Mandola was the first present he'd ever received. For the past month when they went to the market he'd stop by an old pawn shop and stare at the instrument longingly. But it had finally been purchased that same morning, and he was horribly upset, which was understandable considering he'd been sneaking off after his lessons to do odd jobs around the fief to buy it himself. He remembered now, he'd shown great concern when he went back to Halt's side.

"What?" Halt had asked.

"It's nothing. I just…Can I ask you a question?"

"I believe you just did." Came his reply.

Will sighed. "I know, but it's just. I fancied that…I…Do you like music?"

"Music.." Halt repeated.

"You don't…?" He frowned. "I guess it's okay someone else bought it then.."

"Quite…" He paused thinking carefully on the next few words. "I suppose Will, if you ever came into possession of one, you'd be content to play outside while I sat inside. Hopefully out of hearing range.."

He smiled lightly. "But what if I made a song just for you?"

Halt stopped and turned to look at him, an eyebrow raised. "You'll make a song for me?"

"Well yeah. After we train and I clean…and I have some free time to, I'll make one up that tell about all your accomplishments."

"As flattering as that is, I'll pass." He replied. He started off again at his usual pace.

"But why? Is it because you think it'd be catchy?" Will grinned. He hadn't noticed he was leaving him behind and ran the short distance to catch up. "All of Redmont would start singing it…I could call it Grey Beard Halt!"

"And I think you could sleep outside if it did. Maybe Albelard and Tug would like your music."

"But Halt!"

"You've been with me for some time now haven't you?" He replied simply.

"Three years now." He smiled.

"Two, if we remember I wasn't with you the entire time while you were in Skandia."

"Well…just short of three."

He put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "That won't happen again." Will nodded, and he pulled away. They were getting closer to the cottage. "Well, wouldn't you think as a Ranger I'd know when your sneaking off?"

Will frowned. "I was looking for odd jobs. I wasn't doing anything wrong.."

Halt said nothing. They stepped into the cottage and he stepped into his room, and came back out with a package he handed to Will.

"For me?" He asked. His eyes were as bog as the grin on his face.

He raised his eyebrow again, Will noticed. "The next time you want something, you should just tell me. It does seem rather…off if my apprentice is off everyday trying to earn money."

He tore into the wrappings and looked over the worn case and his eyes widened, as he now knew exactly what it was. He dis guarded the rest of the wrappings and opened the case. "How'd you know?"

"Will, I think a blind man would notice. You stopped by it every day to see if it was still there." He felt Will embrace him, he wore a shadow of a smile, returning it with much less enthusiasm. "Of course, you'll have to set a few traps tomorrow."

"I will, I will, I promise." Then he paused. "I'll give you the money I have for it."

"No you won't. It's perfectly fine as a present." He broke away from the hug and was still smiling when he looked back at Halt. He went back to the instrument and played a few cords, then looked back at his mentor. "You had it tuned? Halt…you're the best! I…thanks…" He went to hug him again, this time with much less force than the last time. Halt seemed more hesitant as he returned the hug, then Will started asking questions again. "Halt?" he didn't wait for him to reply. "Do…do apprentices get presents?"

He shrugged. "More than likely, no. But they also don't usually have Barons and Kings offering them positions of power and then turn them down in an instant. So I think, if you don't want such rewards you can have a present. Besides, it doesn't hurt anyone, except my ears. And as I said earlier, being with me for just about three years puts you more than half way through your apprenticeship. It also helps that the weather is very nice tonight, so if you wanted to play, you could stay on the verandah as long as you'd like."

"Of course Halt!"

"Any time you'd like to let me go, feel free so I can start our dinner." He replied nicely.

Will pulled away and stood up straight, Mandola in his hand. "You don't want me to make it?" Will replied.

He raided his eyebrow, for the third time that day. "I thought I'd give you a chance to test out your lute."

"It's a Mandola, it has ten strings.." His eyebrows stayed up in what he thought was mild humor.

"I see that. Besides, you have a visitor." He tilted his head toward the door and Will seemed puzzled.

Alyss spent most of the night there, they ate dinner together, and she listened to Will play. He played before dinner, then for a little while before she left. On more than one occasion in between songs when he stopped to kiss her, he heard Halt muttering to himself about the lack of peace and quiet for the next few years. When he stepped back in the cottage however Will wasn't nearly as carefree and happy. He put the Mandola in his case and brought it into his room. Halt studied his expression as he walked back to the table. Halt passed him a cup of coffee.

"You all right?" He asked.

"I'm fine. It's just…Can I ask you a question?"

"You already have, but I suppose I could answer another." He said nicely.

"What do you think about girls?" Will asked.

Halt had just taken a drink of his coffee when he said it. His eyes widened and he nearly sputtered it out as he replied. "What about them?"

"Well, I just…I really like Alyss."

"I noticed. She obviously likes you. She is always visiting, isn't she?"

"Yeah…it's just…What do they like?" He asked.

Halt paused. "It depends on what girl we're talking about."

"…Well I told you I like Alyss…"

A faint smile appeared on Halt's face. A knowing smile. "Yes, but there always is that other girl you've grown fond of no one important really. Just Princess Cassandra."

Will scratched his head. Then his eyes widened in realization. "Evanlyn? I…Yeah I do like her too. But I've always liked Alyss and Evanlyn well…she….wouldn't it be…Ranger's aren't good with being around lots of people."

"I don't understand any of what you've just said. But how does this have to relate to what you asked?"

"Well what I meant to ask is...How do you get a girl to like you?"

"How do I?" Will nodded and Halt continued. "I don't, but that is just me. Now if you wanted a girl to like you, I don't think you need to try very hard whomever you chose would be taken with you."

"What do they like then?" He frowned.

"Will, you were in the Ward together for years. You should know what she likes. I would think, she's actually quite fond of you already and that…Lute../which is likely the reason you were do eager to buy it yourself."

A smile formed on his face. "Yeah but I like playing it, I really do. I guess your right, I do remember the songs she likes."

"So are we done?" Halt asked. He stood behind Will, resting a hand on his shoulder.

"One more…Please? Well…after she likes me. And I know she likes me what do I do?" he asked.

"I'm sure you'll figure that out on your own." He patted Will on the back and started to walk away.

"Where are you going?" Will asked.

"To bed, all your questions made my head hurt. Clean up before you go to bed." He replied.

"Goodnight Halt."

He turned from will and smiled. "Good night son."